In 1982 the first issue of Alan Moore and David Lloyd's ten issue comic series 'V for Vendetta' arrived in the hands of disco-dancin eighties nerds, and blew them away. Originally, the comic was conceived as a dark adventure strip, somewhere on its originally black and white pages it became something more.
Set in a dismal, dystopian near future, the books told the story of a masked, Guy Fawkes inspired rebel codenamed 'V' battling an oppressive government. It's a dense, rich narrative full of symbolism, multiple, overlapping plotlines, and deeply relevant social meaning.
Now it's up to Larry and Andy Wachowski, the creators of The Matrix
, to turn it into a feature film. Though it was originally written in the eighties, it'll be an easy transition. Thematically, Moore's work is as relevant now as then. In some ways, perhaps even more so. But being relevant also means it might be unusually controversial. The film's central figure is basically a terrorist. Maybe not necessarily a suicide bomber, but he is a masked figure running around blowing things up to take down the government. Depending on where you're standing, you could also call 'V' a freedom fighter.
Dark, dystopian futures and snappy dressing are the Wachowski's forte. Though they didn't actually direct the film (they get producer and screenwriter credits), expect to see their fingerprints all over it since the guy they found to direct is their longtime Assistant Director James McTeigue. McTeigue's resume also includes work on films like Dark City
. This may be his first legit directing gig, but the guy's worked in all the right places to capture Alan Moore and David Lloyd's vision.
Whether the film itself provokes, offends, or excites, it's the kind of material that demands attention. Maybe it doesn't have the flashy effects work you saw from the Wachowski's in The Matrix
trilogy, and yeah it doesn't have the attractive, globular Jennifer Tilly features found in their earlier film Bound
. But V for Vendetta
is the first real event film of 2006, and (for better or worse) not to be missed. Below is our guide to everything you need to get ready for the arrival of codename V.
V for Vendetta
'Politicians lie to hide the truth, artists tell lies to reveal it; so proclaims the newest work from the creators of The Matrix. V for Vendetta is a lie, a work of fiction written to reveal truth. It's not easy or comfortable truth, but there is truth somewhere in it. I'm tempted to lie here and tell you that there's also a ton of kung fu, since that's probably the best way to lure as many people as possible into seeing it. But I'll avoid fabrication and stick with facts. This isn't an action film or a superhero movie or even really science fiction. V for Vendetta is an idea. A subversive, uncompromising (somewhat naïve) idea.'
'This film could very well be the last of its kind: a first-rate, big budget action-adventure with the Warner Bros. label on it. Perhaps The Matrix is a sign of new life for the critically ailing studio, which, for the past few years, has (dis)graced us with such bloated turkeys as Batman & Robin, The Avengers, and Soldier. For every $100 million budget would we be guaranteed a joyless, expensive explosion. The direction represents a new kind of Hollywood confidence. Andy and Larry Wachowski are able to see the future of action film-making with their bold vision. '
The Matrix Reloaded
"The thing is, Reloaded is not in any way bad. Most of the time it is very good and you'll see a lot of things that will have you blathering over just how cool this movie makes cool. The first 45 minutes are exposition and it is a long trip to get to the cool, but even that 45 is interesting just because it stops to smell the roses and let us see the people in this film. Then again, isn't The Matrix all about pulse pounding action surpassed only by a pulse pounding plot?"
The Matrix Revolutions
"I think I liked The Matrix better when the solution was still unknown. Before Reloaded, before Revolutions, back when an unexpected little movie blew us all away and left us wondering if maybe, just maybe Trinity and Morpheous could be waiting on the other end of our cell phone; waiting to open our eyes to the truth about the world pulled over our eyes. Back when the Matrix itself was a dark and hyper-real place where every step was a new revelation. Back when the Wachowski's ended their movie by convincing us that Neo was planning something grand and then left us all alone to imagine for ourselves just what that was."
V for Vendetta (preview & photo gallery)
'In this case, I'm talking about V for Vendetta, based on the Alan Moore graphic novel (a fancy way of saying thick comic book) of the same name. Alan Moore hates this film adaptation, but if you've seen pictures of Alan Moore you'd know that despite being a great writer he's also completely wacky. He hates everything. Pay no attention to him. The premise is pretty cool, presenting an alternate world where Germany won World War II and Great Britain is run by not very nice fascists. We know they're not nice, because in the film's trailer they shave Natalie Portman bald. Assholes!
"It suffers not because I needed something to get me revved but because Portman plays a stripper and is simply incapable of being convincing as such while leaving her top on."
"Portman proves with Garden State that she deserves to have an acting career beyond Star Wars, especially in the hands of a capable director."
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
"Watching Padme struggle to love Anakin is wrenching, and cringing through his slow personality slip into evil is brutally heartbreaking. "
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
"Portman's Padme starts channeling Princess Leia; a blaster in one hand, a peace treaty in the other."
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
"Ok, maybe they left out that wicked gold bikini this time, but I don't know that Portman would look all that good in it anyway."
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
"Winning doesn't mean happiness for everyone, and for this movie it is every bit as important to let us know that on film as it was for Tolkien on paper."
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
"It's no surprise to see the same love for the material and the masterwork that these people are creating here every bit as evident in this installment as it was in the first."
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
"Lord of the Rings is much more than a bunch of furry footed creatures and wizards running about with swords and using silly medieval catch phrases. It's a journey of spirit and darkness unlike any other."
"Unfortunately, the film doesn't quite work as drama, since the conflict is between people whose horrific behavior is not explained or tempered by any knowledge of their personalities or backgrounds."
The Skeleton Key
One look at Hurt's performance is a perfect example of an actor who truly believes in the craft."
"Hellboy's longing for affection, his friendship with Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman's struggle to become normal, the Professor's love of his demon-like son, that's the real point of this film."
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
"But most of all, Potter is visually rich. Lovingly detailed sets and carefully costumed characters bring life and luster to young Potter's world."